Monday, July 28, 2014

Email Update: 7/28/2014

Dear Everyone,

Sounds like you have been having a lot of fun recently... At least, i hope life is fun. It's been interesting for me, with a few good things and a lot of interestingness.

So we had exchanges on Tuesday, and Elder Olson, my original MTC companion is currently one of my Zone Leaders, so we ended up serving together for the day. It went pretty well, we were able to contact one of the referrals that the bishop had given us on Sunday, a lady named Kelly, and her 3 kids that were there at the time (the other one was at a summer camp for the time being). The lesson went really well; we got to teach the first discussion, and set up a followup appointment for this Tuesday. We also were able to answer some questions that she'd had from a while back, one of which was, "My friend told me once that she and her family strongly believed in reincarnation. Is that true for the whole religion?" We were able to convince her that no, we don't believe in reincarnation. What we believe in is the Resurrection, and that everyone will be restored to their bodies. She also had a question on baptism, whether it's necessary or not, and if it is, how she would go about it. She even mentioned that she knew of churches that required you to take classes before you were able to be baptized, so it was pretty easy to explain how we had a similar process. We didn't actually set a baptismal date just yet, mostly because she is not married to her current significant other, and she said that though they are not currently cohabiting, (or whatever the appropriate word is), it is likely that they will again. She also said that one of her concerns was that people would always judge her for that choice, so we felt that it would be prudent to hold off on setting a date until the issue could be fully addressed.

We were also able to stop by Sherry again, and introduce Elder Olson to her. It was actually really funny; if it had been a job recommendation, doubt that Elder Richardson and I could have received much better praise. Sherry actually went to far as to say, "If there was money involved, these two deserve a raise." Though i may disagree with a lot of what was said, it was nice to be appreciated by someone that we have been working with for a while now. It turns out that their family was going to be taking off for a 500 miler on Saturday, so we will have to find out how that went when we see them this week. The last big ride that their group went on apparently ended with the "rear guard" clipping a rock in the road and rolling. Luckily, he was wearing full gear, helmet and leathers, so he is alive and not picking the road out of his skin, though he did break a few bones in the tumble. His wife is apparently not to keen on him getting on a bike anytime soon, and possibly just sticking to three wheelers even after a year. He is apparently upset that he can't get back on a bike right now. Not surprising, either of those opinions...

The last major thing that happened this week was getting Michael's baptismal interview done. Apparently, he did great, and the baptism is set for 2:00 on Saturday, August 2.(I just realized how much i have been saying "apparently." Sorry about that.) However, Michael seems to have a deathly fear of water, a fact that we just found out about yesterday. So, things should be interesting this next weekend. In any case, his family is super excited, and he seems to be as well, so we are going ahead as planned for now, and hope for the best on Saturday. 

Well, that just about covers it for this week. I hope you are all doing great!

Love and Insanity, Elder Stuver

Monday, July 21, 2014

Email Update: 7/21/2014

​Dear Everyone,

This week had some fun parts to it, and a lot of annoying companion... Well, let's get started then!

The biggest news for this week is that Michael (the 14 year-old) has a baptismal date! it's set for August 2, with the 3rd as the confirmation date. Michael is the boy with downs that we have been working with for a good couple months, and we just set the date last night, after finishing the last of the lessons we teach. The reason we wait for so long (usually we set a date at about the second or third discussion if possible, sooner if they are ready) is so that we could be sure that he is understanding at least a good part of what we are teaching. I said it before, and I'll say it again; Elder Richardson is instrumental in helping him learn. Last night we were teaching about Temples and Eternal Marriage, and though every work i said might have passed over Michael's head, Elder Richardson's drawings made quite the impact. Michael's parents are also huge in helping him to understand the harder points--which is to be expected; they spend the most time with him out of anyone. All in all, Michael seems to be picking up more than i had honestly expected him to. I feel like this baptism will help him to learn and grow even more than he already has.

Another funny thing that happened this week has to do with Shary and Michael (the 19 year old this week). We went over to their house on Friday, and as soon as we knocked, Shary opened the door and said, "It's not Thursday!" Apparently, the last couple of weeks we have been by their home on Thursday with out realizing it was the same day. So, we now have a set appointment for Thursdays! In any case, both of them seem to be doing really well, though Shary is having some health troubles that she is going in to the doctors to have checked out in a few days. She's holding up well, though, and seems to be in good spirits for the most part. Some good new (but slightly sardonic) is that it was Michael's birthday this week! ...On Thursday. Yep. That's just how the cookie crumbles, I guess. He showed us his birthday present that his parents got him--a $40 lever-assist open pocket knife, 440 steel, black finish, tanto edge. Yeah. I was drooling a little. (Not too much, thank goodness; it went unnoticed, for the most part.) They were unable to make it to the Come and See thing, but we read a little out of the Family: A Proclamation to the World with them, and invited them to finish it themselves. They had read some of the Book of Mormon, but they said that it was a little harder to understand, so they hadn't read much. I think that the Proclamation should be a little easier for them to grasp, and that it will show how similar we are about caring for our families.

That is most of the cool things that happened this week, so I might as well rant just a little. Elder Richie has been having a lot of fun this past week with a certain new toy that we acquired; a concert ukulele. Almost every spare minute we have, he is playing one song or another. That in and of itself wouldn't bug me, except for this; he sings along to what he is playing, and though he does know how to sing well (i've heard him do it when he slipped up once), he makes the conscious choice not to do so! He sings so off key that it actually gives me a headache for the rest of the day!! Add that to the fact that he keeps trying to get me to sing on film, and i'm surprised that i haven't had to take advil yet (or maybe i should have, and i'm just as stubborn... eh, who cares). Well, at least that's all that he does; it could be much, much worse.

Well, that about wraps things up here. Thank you all for all that you do, and have great lives!!!!

Love and Insanity, Elder Stuver

Monday, July 14, 2014

7/14/2014: Email Update--Halfway

Dear Everyone,

Halfway Day was interesting; i actually forgot that it was halfway until the day was almost done. As for how it feels now, just about the same as before, except for now i say, "Just over a year," rather than, "Just under a year." However, if this year goes as fast as the last one, I'll see you tomorrow!!

This week was pretty standard. We worked with a lot of the same people, such as Michael, Sis. Gage, Sis. Fitskey. Along with those people, we went back and visited the lady that we tracked into last week, Shary, and found out that she and her son had both started reading the Book of Mormon, pretty much on their own, seeing as they started from the beginning rather than in the scripture we left. We had another good long chat were we discussed the basics of what we believe, and how the church is organized, and some of what they were planning on doing in the next little bit of their lives. Turns out, they are planning on going on a 200 mile motorcycle ride in the next week, the longest one that Michael, the son, will have been on. So, we invited them to the "Come and See" thing that is going on down at the church this Tuesday (just a video "the Church at a Glance" and a tour of the building, with some classes on what goes on where) and we think that they might be able to come to it. Keep your/our fingers crossed!

That is pretty much the size of this last week. Thank you for everything, and hope that your lives are fun!

Love and Insanity, Elder Stuver.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Email Update: 7/7/2014

Dear Everyone,

Sounds like you all had a great week! I'm glad that you were able to spend some time with everyone, and that you all had fun. 

Life has been pretty interesting this past week. I may have mentioned at one point or another that i strongly dislike tracting, mostly because i am horrible at it, and also because there is little efficiency to the process. However, this week seems to have broken the mold. Elder Richardson worked as a Vivint salesman before he came out on his mission, and he still has all of the confidence that he gained while working in Texas. In the past week, we have knocked on a total of 12 doors, and we have gotten into 5 homes, and had favorable responses from 4 others. There were still 3 crazy people, but you can't really expect anything else with that much success. I mean, i didn't even expect us to get in a single door! One of the homes that we visited was the home of a lady named Leslie, and she was super nice. We weren't able to go in, because there wasn't another male in the house, but we talked for a little on the front porch, where we found out that she had read the Book of Mormon in the past, because it was given to her by some of her friends. We said that we would come back at a better time, and she said that she was fine with that. 

Another house we stopped by had a lady and her son, named Shary and Michael. They are members of the Assembly of God, and both of them are actually ministers in a biker congregation. Even with that, though, they were totally fine with us coming in and talking about what we believe. We left them a Book of Mormon and had them read Alma chapter 48, mostly because it kinda just popped in my head, and i was talking before i had the time to think about. Before we left, we read Alma 48:17 with them, and said that we both admired Captain Moroni, and that we knew that they would be blessed if they would read and learn, and follow the example of this great man. 

A slightly unusual first lesson, as it goes. However, it seemed to work, and we left in high spirits.

So, that was the cool missionary stories this week. As for Michael the 14 year old, we went over to teach him yesterday, and he was in an... interesting mood. He walked out in the middle of the lesson and laid down in his parents bed, saying that he, "Couldn't sleep because everyone was talking." So, the parents took us in and we basically taught him by telling him bedtime stories. Again, Elder Richardson was awesome at it, and i.. was less than impressive. Oh well, what can you do. Oh, and the drawings look like the people have mustaches for hair.

As for the 4th of July, it was interesting, mostly because it was a little boring. No one was available to teach, and we had to be in by six, so it was a little slow. Oh well, it's a mission, not a vacation, right?

I've been doing a lot better since the beginning of the transfer, mentally and physically. It's been nice to have a companion that is a little more upbeat, though Elder Gibson has his own qualities. President Cannon is cool, though sometimes he seems exhausted, which is entirely understandable; he has to put up with almost 200 adolescents while at the same time presiding over an area probably 300 miles square of people almost as crazy as the missionaries. So, all in all, he is doing great.

Well that just about does it for this week. Have a great life!!!!

Love and Insanity, Elder Stuver